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James Garcia

James Garcia

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Office: (909) 448-4147
Hoover Building / La Verne

Assistant Professor of Psychology; received his Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of North Texas in 2017.  Dr. García completed his pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.  Clinically, he has worked with medical populations, focusing on delivering health psychology interventions and neuropsychological assessments to communities of color and LGBTQ+ people.  His research focuses on: 1) racial/ethnic health disparities in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) with a focus on Latinx people, 2) racial/ethnic and LGBT microaggressions and cardiovascular reactivity (i.e., heart functioning), and 3) psychosocial resilience in health outcomes for communities of color.  He has published work in bio-behavioral and psychosocial factors in cardiovascular diseases, Latinx health, and racial/ethnic differences in hospital utilization patterns for CVDs.  Currently, Dr. García is developing an emerging interest in the health and health disparities of LGBT People of Color (PoC) in the areas of CVDs and HIV/AIDS.  Dr. García is designated as core doctoral faculty.  Additionally, Dr. García also teaches courses in the undergraduate Psychology program and is a lecturer in the Physician Assistant Program.



As a scientist, I am interested in bio-behavioral and psychosocial mechanisms of racial/ethnic and LGBT+ cardiovascular health and health disparities.  I use experimental studies and hospital-based data to study these mechanisms.  Since my appointment at the University of La Verne, I started a cardiovascular health and health disparities research lab, named the Psychophysiology and Social Interactions (PSI) Lab, and gained access to medical rehabilitation outcomes data from a local hospital.  Additionally, I am committed to supporting diverse graduate students in the psychology graduate training pipeline.

My research program specifically focuses on: 1) identifying racial/ethnic and LGBT health disparities in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) with a focus on Latinx people, 2) exploring unique pathways for these disparities, such as cardiovascular reactivity (i.e., heart functioning, blood pressure) via laboratory psychosocial stressor tasks, and 3) identifying psychosocial factors that promote resiliency, despite adversity, in health outcomes (heart, brain, and immune-related) for communities of color.  One of my emerging areas of interest is to examine CVDs among Latinx LGBT people, including an examination of the unique psychosocial factors salient to members of these communities.  Regarding hospital data, I am currently working on a project from a local hospital examining inpatient medical rehabilitation outcomes for racial/ethnic people who have a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Current Research Projects

  • Title: Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury in Communities of Color (STICC) study: Racial/ethnic Differences in Inpatient Medical Rehabilitation Outcomes
    Status: Stroke manuscript submitted; TBI manuscript in preparation.
  • Title: Getting PrEPared: Knowledge, Attitudes and Correlates of PrEP in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People of Color
    Status: Abstract accepted to American Public Health Association (APHA) 2019.
  • Title: From the Air and to the Heart: Social Interactions and Cardiovascular Responses in LGBT People of Color
    Status: IRB-approved study.
  • Title: Taking it to heart: Social interactions and Cardiovascular Responses in Latino College Students
    Status: Completed; analyzing impedance cardiography data.


As a scientist-practitioner, it is my responsibility to help students refine their critical thinking as emerging social scientists.  To this end, my teaching goals aim to create an educational milieu that facilitates the use and interpretation of psychological science by helping stimulate student curiosity in psychological science (in the form of testable research questions), arrive at data-driven conclusions regarding biopsychosocial phenomenon, and to foster effective communication of psychological science.


My clinical interests are in the area of Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) and Rehabilitation Psychology (RP).  I received training in CHP throughout my Ph.D. program and during my pre-doctoral internship at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.  My Postdoctoral training was at a local medical rehabilitation hospital working primarily in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R).  Clinically, I have focused much of my work with members of marginalized communities, including racial/ethnic, linguistically diverse people, and LGBTQ+ communities.

  • Psychotherapy: Most of the clinical work I do is brief, focuses on psychosocial adjustment to diseases, neurological injury, and/or targets changing specific health behaviors (e.g., smoking, diabetes physical activity).  Most of my training has been in acute medical rehabilitation hospitals, a setting which often includes medical patients who struggle with complex medical/neurological conditions and/or are recovering from an acute clinical event (e.g., stroke, heart attack) or surgery.  In terms of psychotherapeutic approach, I consider myself an integrationist, drawing from cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, as well as acceptance and commitment therapy techniques.
  • Assessments: Often, Health/Rehabilitation Psychologists are consulted on a variety of referral questions in medical centers; this requires familiarity and proficiency with a variety of assessments.  As such, I have had experience with health psychology and neuropsychological assessments.  Examples of the former include: psychological evaluations for spinal cord stimulators, readiness for cross-sex hormones for Transgender people, and psychological assessment for solid organ transplants (e.g., liver, heart, lung).  In terms of the latter, I received training with brief neurocognitive screeners in medical rehabilitation hospitals with patients who have neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis) and neurological injuries (e.g., traumatic brain injury, stroke), including medical/financial capacity evaluations.  Lastly, I have experience with conducting full battery neuropsychological evaluations on an outpatient basis.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of North Texas
  • 2018 Postdoctoral Fellow in Clinical Health/Rehabilitation Psychology, Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare



  • García, J.J., & Warren, K.L. (2019). Race/ethnicity matters: Differences in poststroke rehabilitation outcomes for communities of color. Stroke, 50(Suppl_1). doi: 10.1161/str.50.suppl_1.WP202


  • Ruiz, J.M., Campos, B, García, J.J. (2016). Latino physical health: Disparities, paradoxes, and future directions. Journal of Latina/o Psychology4(2), 61-66. doi: 10.1037/lat0000065
  • Fix, R.L., Lantz, M.M., Davis, B.L., Harrison, L.N., Oliver, A., Mitchell, A.M…& García, J.J. (2016). Grad Students Talk: Development and process of a student-led social justice initiative. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 9(3), 290-306. doi: 10.1037/dhe0000033
  • Ruiz, J. M., Hamann, H. A., Lewis, S., Prather, C. C., García, J. J., & Santini, N. O. (2014). Racial/ethnic differences in 12-month in-hospital survival and hospital utilization trends: Evidence for a Hispanic survival and recovery advantage. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 2(2), 92-102. doi: 10.1037/lat0000015
  • Laganá, L., & García, J. J. (2013). The mental health impact of computer and internet training on a multi-ethnic sample of community-dwelling older adults: Results from a pilot randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Biomedical Sciences, 9 (3), 135-147. Retrieved from:


  • Ruiz, J. M., García, J. J., & Prather, C. C. (2016). Cardiovascular disease: Psychological and behavioral factors. In A. E. Wenzel, D. G. Friedman-Wheeler, and E. Flannery- Schroeder (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  • Ruiz, J. M., Hamann, H. A., García, J. J., & Craddock Lee, S. J. (2014). The psychology of health: Physical health and the role of culture and behavior in Mexican Americans. In Y. Caldera and E. Lindsey (Eds.), Handbook of Mexican American children and families: Multidisciplinary perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Additional Information


After ULV appointment:

  • García, J.J., Williams, M., Alcala, M.*, & Tang, J.*., (2019). Predictors of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) stigma and positive attitudes in a sample of U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People of Color. Proposal accepted to the American Public Health Association 2019 conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Korte, P.T., Malcore, S., Esbitt, S., & García, J.J. (2019). Dismantling disparities: Overcoming inequality through Health Psychology research, training, and practice. Symposium accepted to the American Psychological Association 2019 Conference, Chicago, IL.
  • García, J.J. & Warren, K. (2019). Race/ethnicity matters: Differences in stroke inpatient medical rehabilitation outcomes for communities of color. Poster presentation accepted to the International Stroke Conference of the American Stroke Association 2019, Honolulu, HI.
  • Serpas, D.*, García, J.J. (2019). The intersection matters: Differences in body mass index and depressive symptoms among Sexual Minority PoC. Poster presentation accepted to the 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit, Denver, CO.
  • García, J.J., Serpas, D.*, Cobian, A.*, Torres, Y.*, Gutierrez, A.*, Avelar, E.*, Schall, S.*, Villapudua, C.*, & Alcala, M.* (2019). Taking it to heart: A pilot study on the cardiovascular effects of racial/ethnic microaggressions in Latinx. Poster presentation accepted to the 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit, Denver, CO.
  • Minero, L.* & García, J.J., (2018). Immigration Q&A session. Roundtable accepted to the National Latinx Psychological Association 2018 Conference, San Diego, CA
  • García, J.J., Serpas, D*., & Sandoval, K*. (2018). También son familia: A narrative review of cardiovascular risk factors in Latinx LGBT. Poster presentation accepted to the National Latinx Psychological Association 2018 Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • García, J.J., Minero, L.P*., Abreu, R. L*. (2018). Latinx Resiliency: Recharging and restoring as trainees, early career professionals, and beyond. Roundtable accepted the National Latinx Psychological Association 2018 Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Hancock-Smith, A.D., Avellar, T.R., Nieto, L., García, J.J., Sersecion, S., Mobley, M., Nakamura, N., Morales, E., & Briano, M. (2018). Mentorship in Action: A Psychodrama Approach to Mentorship within the QPOC Community. Symposium accepted to the American Psychological Association 2018 Conference, San Francisco, CA.

*indicates student (graduate and/or undergraduate co-authors)

Before ULV appointment: 

  • García, J.J., Ruiz, J.M., Ahn, C., Allison, M., Smith, T.W., Smyth, J., Taylor, D.J., & Uchino, B.N. (2017). Racial/Ethnic differences in subclinical atherosclerosis in the North Texas Heart Study. Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Ruiz, J.M., García, J.J., Flores, M., Ahn, C., Allison, M., Smith, T.W., Smyth, J., Taylor, D.J., & Uchino, B.N. (2017). Racial/Ethnic differences in progression of subclinical atherosclerosis in the North Texas Heart Study. Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • García, J.J. et al. Voices from both sides: The multicultural journey of educators and students. (2016). American Psychological Association Conference, Denver, CO.
  • García, J.J., Sundaram, S., Oliver, A., Davis, B.L., Fix, R.L.…&Crowell, C. (2016). Grad students talk: A student-led response discussing power and privilege. American Psychological Association Conference, Denver, CO.
  • Ruiz, J. M., Uchino, B. N., García, J.J., Goans, C., Smith, T. W., Smyth, J. M., Taylor, J., Allison, M., & Ahn, C. (2016). Married with children: Are children pro or anti- inflammatory agents? American Psychosomatic Society, San Antonio, TX.
  • García, J.J., Uchino, B. M., Goans, C., Smith, T. W., Smyth, J. M., Taylor, D. J., Allison, M., Ahn, C., & Ruiz, J. M. (2015). Ethnic/racial differences in social support and levels of C-Reactive Proteins in the North Texas Heart Study. Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference, San Antonio, TX.

*indicates student (graduate and/or undergraduate co-authors)

Courses Taught

Undergraduate courses

  • PSY 405: Brain and Behavior
  • PSY 409: Multicultural Psychology
  • PSY 450: Minority Health and Health Disparities

Graduate level (doctoral) courses

  • PSY 603: Psychological Measurement
  • PSY 604: Biological Bases of Behavior
  • PSY 672: Advanced Consultation Skills I
  • PSY 673: Advanced Consultation Skills II